Last March, Christie’s organized an auction of a collage of 5,000 digital images titled Everydays: The First 5000 Days by digital artist Mike Winkelmann, aka Beeple. The digital artwork sold for $ 69 million (2.2 billion baht).
One of the pictures from Everydays: The First 5000 Days by Mike Winkelmann or Beeple. (Photo © CHRISTIE’S IMAGES LTD. 2021 / BEEP)
“This year the world’s top auction houses such as Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Phillips held auctions for NFT [Non-fungible token] Crypto-art that helped make crypto-art more recognizable, “said Watjanasin Charuwattanakitti, owner of Palette Artspace.
Watjanasin first became interested in the NFT crypto art market when the painting Idiots by acclaimed British street artist Banksy was burned and later uploaded as NFT crypto art. The burn aimed to make Idiots an exclusive NFT crypto artwork.
“News reports on NFT crypto art have also caught the market’s public attention. I’m a gamer and card collector so I’m open to NFT crypto art and buy works of art that I can afford, ”added Watjanasin.
Today works of art are not limited to physical forms. Although it is a relatively new concept, NFT crypto art is a rapidly growing market. According to Markets insider, the NFT crypto art market was worth $ 52 million last year. In April, the market was up more than 800% and is now valued at around $ 490 million.
An NFT is a unique token and cannot be replaced by any other token. NFT crypto art is a digital art object created on a blockchain – a digital ledger of transactions that are immutable and permanent.
NFT graphics by Kiatanan Iamchan, known as Line Censor. (Photo © https://foundation.app)
Eddie Paradorn, founder of the NFT and Crypto Art Thailand group and investor and NFT collector, stated that blockchain is a unique system in that its data is stored and distributed to many nodes or servers around the world.
“Blockchain data is not just stored on a server. NFT crypto art is digital work of art on blockchain. I wanted to be an artist once, but couldn’t make a living from it. When I saw NFT crypto art at affordable prices, decided to buy it. Because of blockchain technology, I can own digital art that is broadcast by artists and collected in my crypto wallet, “Eddie said.
Aside from news articles attracting people to the NFT crypto art market, Eddie said there are other factors that are helping to expand the NFT crypto art market. One factor is the growth of crypto wallets, especially Metamark. Metamark had 1 million users last year and topped 5 million in April.
“Buying and selling NFT crypto art requires knowledge of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and Dogecoin, as well as a crypto wallet. Since millions of people signed up for crypto wallets, more buyers and sellers have entered the NFT crypto art market, ”Eddie said.
Eddie Paradorn and his virtual gallery. (Photos © Eddie Paradorn)
“The Covid-19 pandemic is another factor that has expanded the NFT crypto art market. During lockdowns in many countries, artists will not be able to display their work in galleries so they had to look for alternatives to display and sell their work, ”said Eddie.
The Metamark Wallet and Ethereum cryptocurrency are most commonly used by Thai artists and collectors as Metamark and Ethereum can be used on three popular digital marketplaces: opensea.io, foundation.app and rarible.com. Opensea is the most popular marketplace for NFT crypto art as anyone can be a creator there.
“With Opensea, users can discontinue their work without additional payment after paying an initial fee. Opensea offers different types of products such as art, music, virtual world, trading cards and sports. Although it offers different items, some collectors offer this I don’t like it, because the quality of the artwork and items on Opensea varies due to the lack of screening, “Eddie said.
Watjanasin Charuwattanakitti, owner of Palette Artspace.
“So Foundation is a goal for many Thai artists. To join the Foundation, artists must be invited by other artists who have also been invited and can sell their artwork. Artworks on Foundation are of higher quality than on Opensea. Rarible is cool and modern Design platform. Artists in Rarible must self-verify that they are the real creators. The verified artists get verified ticks, “Eddie said.
Three months ago, established Thai artist Kiatanan Iamchan, aka Line Censor, became a creator on Opensea, where he listed his NFT crypto artworks for around 8,000 baht. In June, one of his works of art, chaos, was bought from the Foundation by a collector for one Ethereum, or 62,300 Baht, and is currently listed at 35 Ethereums, or 2.2 million Baht. Kiatanan recently became a creator on superrare.com, another invitation-only platform.
“I started publishing my work on Opensea, but I was inspired by artists on SuperRare. The works of many artists on SuperRare, especially Korean artist Mr. Misan, are amazing. That contradicted what I’ve heard that some people are looking down on NFT crypto art as being low quality but expensive, ”Kiatanan said.
Anyone can be a creator on OpenSea. (Photo © https://opensea.io)
Kiatanan developed his paintings into short animations and sells them as NFT crypto art. The artist said NFT crypto art is not just about art, it is also about marketing.
“An artist has to be active in social networks. I am active on Instagram and Facebook. I use Twitter to follow and communicate with collectors. If artists post their work on platforms but are not active on social media, they cannot be successful. I spoke to a collector who bought Mr. Misan’s artwork on Twitter and he told me my works are amazing. He then bought three of my works of art. I felt that I achieved my goal because my works are in the same collection as the artist I admire, “said Kiatanan.
After purchasing a physical painting, collectors can keep the painting personally. However, viewers can see NFT crypto art on different platforms. You can even save them on their devices. So why are collectors choosing to pay for NFT crypto art? Watjanasin and Eddie said collectors are proud to own the token.
“An owner has proof of ownership that he can show anyone to prove his possession. Some people wonder why collectors pay so much money for NFT art. It’s a different type of investment. A collector who bought Beeples works at work could earn 2.2 billion baht more in the future, “Eddie said.
Eddie Paradorn, founder of the NFT and Crypto Art Thailand group, is an investor and NFT collector. (Photo © Eddie Paradorn)
NFT crypto art is an alternative for an artist to reach out to collectors. But will this new market affect art galleries? Watjanasin didn’t say much because some collectors still like physical art and a gallery will remain an important place for artists to promote their work. Eddie believes that some galleries will have to adapt to the NFT market.
“Some collectors and investors are learning that the price of NFT crypto art is rising rapidly and the artwork is permanent. It will not be damaged by disasters such as fire or flood. It’s easy to maintain. In the future, NFT galleries will be exhibiting and selling crypto art, “Eddie said.
Looking at market value, NFT crypto art looks attractive, but how promising will its future be?
Watjanasin said it is difficult to predict what this market will be like in the future as the market has both art enthusiasts and investors. However, Kiatanan and Eddie agree that the market for NFT crypto art will continue to grow.
“The number of users can increase. In addition to the arts, NFT can be expanded to many other industries such as music, sports, games, and trading cards. It could be a limited edition music album or a souvenir in NFT format about how creators are expanding their ideas with this technology, “Eddie said.
The Thai artist Kiatanan Iamchan. (Photos © Kiatanan Iamchan)
Creators on superrare.com must be invited to the platform. (Photo: https://superrare.com)